By Dan Chavez, Staff Reporter
A free two-hour workshop seminar will be at CNM for those out there that need help getting personal finances in order, or just want to learn more about improving financial stability.
The workshop is scheduled for Thursday January 24 at 2 p.m. in Smith Brasher Hall Room 132, and will educate attendees and participants on the basics of financial management, trainer Vickie Oldman-John said.
The workshop is expected to bring in 25 to 30 and possibly as many as 40 participants of various backgrounds and levels of financial expertise, she said.
Oldman-John said the workshop is open to anyone who wants to learn more about managing money and spending wisely to avoid future financial problems.
Oldman-John is a founding partner and co-manager of Seven Sisters Community Development Group, LLC, one of a handful of groups organizing these workshops, including the New Mexico Native Financial Security Initiative, Native Community Finance, New Mexico Regulation and Licensing and Securities Division, and there are several workshops scheduled in various Native American communities within New Mexico, she said.
People of any level of knowledge of finance, from the very inexperienced to very educated, should attend these workshops to gain a better knowledge of dealing with personal finances, she said.
“Many times an experienced person can help us reinforce what is being taught because that person has actually experienced what we are talking about,” she said.
According to the workshop flier provided by CNM School Relations Manager Julie Fisher, the workshops are organized as a resource for Native American people interested in learning more about managing money and investing wisely.
Oldman-John said that although the seminar is tailored to Native persons, she encourages anyone of any background to attend and participate.
There are also one or two 1-hour coaching calls for participants who are interested in continual learning after the workshop, she said.
Many times, people who earn or have an abundant income will think they are experienced in financing, but they attend a workshop and learn so much more about financing and their own spending habits, she said.
“There is a misconception where people think this is for people who have money problems, but we could all use more education,” she said.
These workshops educate participants in various financing sub-topics, such as budgeting, saving, managing credit, managing money, and holding a retirement account, she said.
One major topic these workshops bring up is how to conserve money when a person is granted a lump sum, such as a settlement, a loan or grant, or an inheritance, she said.
Many people who receive a lump sum will spend unwisely until all the money is gone. This workshop teaches people how to invest money so that it will remain and possibly grow, she said.
“They might go out and buy expensive merchandise. We teach them to step back and say, ‘do I need this?” Oldman-John said.
Another topic is how to avoid being a victim of fraud or predatory lending. Many entities specifically target certain people who are stereotyped as being financially inexperienced, she said.
These workshops teach participants how to spot predatory lenders and fraudulent entities so that they will not be victims, she said.
“We also teach them how to not fall into the trap of taking out a loan to pay another loan, which is a very bad thing to do,” she said.
Oldman-John said she frequently receives feedback from people who are excited that they now know much more about the speech and terms used in financing, she said.
“Many people come back and say how nice it is to have a real conversation with their financial manager. They now understand what’s being said and what’s being asked of them,” she said.
Because these workshops are framed around Native peoples and financing, trainers tend to use examples from tradition and traditional practices of managing natural resources, she said.
“We try to think of how our ancestors lived with natural resources,” she said
Money is thought of as a natural resource and spending money is thought of as using a natural resource that is not abundant, she said.
“So if a person spends more money than what is being earned, it’s like overhunting, or using too much water,” Oldman-John said.
Workshop trainers sometimes change the metaphor to refer to other ways of life, such as farming where conservation of resources is vital to the successful management of the farm, she said.
In this way, money can be thought of as a supply that is not abundant, has to be used efficiently and can easily be spent in wrong ways, leading to problems down the road, she said.
Using these metaphors, participants in the workshop can clearly ask themselves if they have enough money to spend, what types of spending is unwise, and in what ways they can reduce spending and save money that may be needed in the future, she said.